Fight to lead football takes a turn as Danny and Irvin square off

Sunday World - - Front Page - MN­I­NAWA NT­LOKO

THE fierce bat­tle for con­trol of the SA Football As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) has taken a new twist.

A push to change the body’s con­sti­tu­tion to al­low Irvin Khoza to run for pres­i­dent has hit a snag.

Safa chief ex­ec­u­tive Dennis Mum­ble says time has run out for any­one who in­tends to pro­pose an amend­ment of the mother body’s con­sti­tu­tion at its congress on Au­gust 24, as the cut-off date for sub­mis­sions was last Thurs­day.

This would boost the chances of Khoza’s main ri­val, Danny Jor­daan.

The Safa con­sti­tu­tion does not al­low club own­ers to stand for pres­i­dent, but last week a splin­ter group led by Mandla Maz­ibuko – the Safa vice-pres­i­dent – an­nounced its in­ten­tion to sub­mit a pro­posal to amend the con­sti­tu­tion at the ex­tra­or­di­nary congress on Au­gust 24 so as to al­low Or­lando Pi­rates and Pre­mier Soc­cer League chair­man Khoza to run.

Mum­ble told Sun­day World that for the con­sti­tu­tion to be amended, the mem­bers must re­ceive 30 days’ no­tice and Safa did not see such a pro­posal be­fore the dead­line.

‘‘ That dead­line was up last Thurs­day and, be­sides, there was no call for mo­tions any­way,” he said.

‘‘ So even on the floor (on the day) it is not pos­si­ble to amend the con­sti­tu­tion in this com­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary congress.”

Maz­ibuko said yes­ter­day he was sur­prised by Mum­ble’s dec­la­ra­tion be­cause he never re­ceived any no­ti­fi­ca­tion that the dead­line was ap­proach­ing.

‘‘ Did he give no­tice of the pend­ing dead­line to all the mem­bers? The an­swer is no,” Maz­ibuko said.

‘‘ As we speak, there are re­gions that have still not re­ceived any­thing. Was it de­lib­er­ate or was it a mis­take? I don’t know.”

Maz­ibuko said they would raise their com­plaints at the Au­gust 24 congress as they feel dis­ad­van­taged.

Should the is­sue not be con­sid­ered at this month’s congress, a pro­posal to amend the con­sti­tu­tion might still be con­sid­ered as long as it is sub­mit­ted about a month be­fore Safa ’ s elec­tive congress on Septem­ber 28.

But the group will need 75% of the house to vote in its favour be­fore a mo­tion is con­sid­ered.

A Safa in­sider told Sun­day World that this might take some do­ing as 34 re­gions are ex­pected to throw their weight be­hind Safa vi­cepres­i­dent Jor­daan while 17 are be­lieved to sup­port the splin­ter group.

But Maz­ibuko ar­gued that no camp can say with cer­tainty how many re­gions would back them be­cause the num­bers are a mat­ter of spec­u­la­tion.

The group back­ing Khoza wants him as pres­i­dent and Maz­ibuko, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana and Alpha Mchunu as his vice-pres­i­dents.

Khoza’s cell­phone rang unan­swered yes­ter­day and he did not re­spond to mes­sages left on his voice­mail.

Maz­ibuko said the Pi­rates chair­man had to be given space to ap­ply his mind and de­cide if he wanted to ac­cede to the re­quest to run for Safa pres­i­dent.

‘‘ Peo­ple have fam­i­lies, busi­nesses and spon­sors to think about and I think it is only fair for them to be given space to con­sult with them be­fore de­cid­ing whether to ac­cept or de­cline nom­i­na­tions.”

The bat­tle for con­trol of the in­creas­ingly di­vided mother body has in­ten­si­fied over the past few weeks and Safa pres­i­dent Kirsten Ne­matan­dani is the only can­di­date who has of­fi­cially put up his hand.

Ne­matan­dani an­nounced his in­ten­tion to run for a sec­ond term a few weeks ago. Jor­daan and Khoza have not of­fi­cially con­firmed bids.

All three ri­vals are be­lieved to be fu­ri­ously cam­paign­ing be­hind the scenes and lob­by­ing for sup­port from the 52 Safa re­gions that will cast their votes for a new pres­i­dent on Septem­ber 28.

Mum­ble re­it­er­ated that the re­cently ap­pointed Safa elec­toral com­mit­tee would, for the first time, have pro­ce­dures in place to test if those who cam­paign for the pres­i­dency have put the wishes of the re­gions that nom­i­nate them ahead of their own agen­das.

Crim­i­nal back­ground checks and in­tegrity tests will also be done for the first time and can­di­dates will be ruled in­el­i­gi­ble if:

They were pre­vi­ously con­victed of a crime in­volv­ing breach of trust, fraud, forgery or per­jury.

They were con­victed of a vi­o­lent crime.

They are a for­mer pres­i­dent of Safa.

They were found guilty by any Safa tri­bunal or com­pe­tent court of law of elec­toral fraud or other cor­rupt prac­tice.

They are sub­ject to an or­der of a com­pe­tent court declar­ing them as men­tally ill or dis­or­dered.

Ne­matan­dani ad­mit­ted that he was at the helm of a di­vided or­gan­i­sa­tion and the com­ing elec­tions have proved more di­vi­sive than he would have wanted.

The Safa pres­i­dent said there were many within the game who felt he should never have got the po­si­tion in 2009 and con­tin­ued to ques­tion his de­ci­sion to make him­self avail­able for a sec­ond term.

He was un­ex­pect­edly elected pres­i­dent un­op­posed four years ago af­ter Jor­daan and Khoza with­drew.

The el­i­gi­bil­ity of the two pow­er­houses to con­test the elec­tion was raised, threat­en­ing to turn the race into a farce.

‘‘ Re­mem­ber, this is what you call a tran­si­tion pe­riod that I find my­self in and a tran­si­tion pe­riod is not easy be­cause you still have peo­ple who be­lieve they could have been (pres­i­dent),” Ne­matan­dani said.

‘‘ But with time peo­ple will get to a mode of un­der­stand­ing that this is the per­son who should be in charge. Unity is some­thing that I said was very high on my agenda and I worked for it.

“I worked for it and that is why I am pleased to say I have got friends from both sides.”

The tough-talk­ing Safa pres­i­dent said only those who had the best in­ten­tions for the sport should be al­lowed to lead the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

‘‘ Those who are as­pir­ing for po­si­tions with­out the pas­sion (for the sport) are wast­ing the coun­try’s time.

“You have to have that com­mit­ment. You may be pop­u­lar, but if you do not have the pas­sion you are wast­ing this coun­try’s time.

“What is im­por­tant is that com­mit­ment and pas­sion when you go out there to vol­un­teer your time for the sake of de­vel­op­ment.

“That is what mat­ters to me the most. The rhetoric that is out there does not mat­ter so much to me. What mat­ters to me is what you bring.”

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